Power cuts in Brightling: on-line question and answer session with UK Power Networks

The following is an updated version of the article that appears in the Messenger Magazine for February 2021

We discussed this subject at the Parish Council meeting on 13th January, and decided to invite Mr Tom Miles of UK Power networks, to an on-line meeting to discuss the current problems, the planned improvements and when we can expect a change.

I am pleased to report that Mr Miles has now agreed to talk to the parish at an on-line meeting as part of the Brightling Annual Village meeting, on Wednesday 14 April.  Details of how to attend the meeting will be circulated in due course.

Readers who don’t have the benefit of their own private power supply will be only too well aware that there have been several power cuts in Brightling recently: one lasted a number of hours and there were quite a few short ones, not to mention planned interruptions. 

Telegraph pole with electrical switching equipment
New switches on old poles – spotted recently near Hollingrove

We definitely know that there are upgrades taking place right now, aimed at improving the reliability of the supply.  We also spotted a recent planning application for two new telegraph poles in the area around Darwell Hole car park.  These will be new poles on the existing power line route that comes down through the woods from the direction of Netherfield.  The details of the application reveal that the poles are to be fitted with “Nulec re-closers” – devices which enable the electricity supply to be switched by remote control.  The idea is that if there is a break in the supply, they will often be able to turn it back on immediately from their control centre, rather than having to send someone out.  Spies have also reported new equipment being attached to existing poles elsewhere in the village. 

As we discussed this, we realized that we don’t have a very good idea of the extent of the work being done, or what to expect when it is complete.  That is when we decided to invite Mr Tom Miles of UK Power Networks, who was extremely helpful and informative when he came and talked to us (and interested members of the public) last March just before lockdown, to come back and talk to us again.

One concern that I have heard is with many more people working from home, even a very short power cut can be quite disruptive.  If you are video-conferencing, and the power goes down for a second or two, then your router will lose its internet connection, which takes some time to re-establish.  Meanwhile your video-conference will have frozen or crashed completely.  Not everyone is aware that you can buy a simple device to get round that problem.  It is called a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply).  It will keep your internet connection and WiFi going during a shortish power cut, and assuming that you are working off a device such as a laptop or tablet which has its own battery, you will sail through.  Probably not worth it for the casual user, but if your working life depends on a reliable internet / WiFi connection, it could be worth looking into. I’d be happy to provide more detailed advice to anyone who is interested; just email me at andrew@wedmore.com